Orange County’s Rally for Religious Freedom, Largest in the West
Stand Up For Religious Freedom
SANTA ANA, Calif., June 11, 2012 — On Friday, June 8, an estimated 2000 people attended the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally in the Santa Ana Civic Center, the largest in the Western U.S., according to organizers. More than 160 cities across the nation hosted rallies protesting the Health and Human Services Mandate which forces employers to cover controversial medications and female sterilization, without appropriate exemptions for those morally opposed to them.
During the 90-minute program, 12 speakers shared the podium, highlighting the importance of conscience protections in current and future healthcare laws, the ultimate price veterans have paid to defend our founding freedoms, and the need to remain vigilant in the fight against secularist ideologies threatening to silence the contributions of faith-based solutions to social and political problems in the public square. The well-rounded program included strong patriotic overtones, remarks from leaders of Jewish, Catholic, and Evangelical faith communities, legal and medical professionals, members of minority cultural groups, and young political activists.
Friday’s rally was organized by a local group of volunteers whom have organized under the name United 4 Religious Freedom. A website has been launched www.u4rf.org to promote and organize future religious freedom events in Orange County.
“The United 4 Religious Freedom organization was very pleased with Friday’s turnout, especially as it was an end-of-week, lunch hour rally. Clearly, when this many people interrupt their schedules to participate in this kind of civic activity, they are sending a powerful message,” said Aileen Blachowski, Rally spokesperson.
“The people who attended the rally today are passionate about defending this nation’s first freedoms, which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. You could just feel this groundswell of conscientious voters. They see the need to broaden access to affordable healthcare in the U.S., but they aren’t willing to trample on the defense of human life in the process.”
“They believe what the Constitution states—namely, that these natural rights are given to us by our Creator, not the government. So, you do see them pushing back on the Health and Human Services Mandate that clearly violates our very first natural right as a human—life. The mandated abortion-inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization, which employers would be forced to provide, treat potential life as a threat to health. Isn’t that just bizarre?” Blachowski asked.
Rally attendees queued up in long lines to sign postcard petitions addressed to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and U.S. Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, asking for legislation protecting employers’ conscience rights to opt out of these coverages if they are morally opposed to them. The post cards will arrive at the officials’ offices by the end of this week.
“Our action doesn’t stop here,” said Rally Captain Steve Cameron. “We will continue to activate people through our website. There will be conferences, prayer vigils and other activities posted online this week. We’ll be sharing video playback from the rally speakers for people who couldn’t take off during their lunch hour to join us. U4RF is committed to staying engaged. We’re here to support and organize all those people who are tired of the federal government suggesting unconstitutional solutions to our nation’s problems. We can do better than that.” Cameron said.
Aileen Blachowski, Orange County Rally Spokesperson